How to Pull Human Capital Leverage Levers

Finding great people, keeping them and inspiring them to do great things always ranks as a top concern on any CEO’s list. The ultimate goal is to attach people’s performance to workplace outcomes, but getting there is never as clear as it seems. Here are three critical areas that CEOs must focus on in order to get the most out of their human capital.

1. Human Performance Response-Ability

Teamwork makes the dream work. Dysfunctional teams don’t communicate well, avoid conflict and have trust issues; team members rarely have the guts to hold each other accountable. Even then, fully functional teams will not perform without the proper goals and incentives in place. To truly connect people with your business plan or strategy, you need to make sure all goals have a direct connection to your objectives. Every employee should realize how their role impacts the business and what initiatives their team is working on to help contribute toward those objectives. Annual objectives should be broken down into more bite-sized, attainable goals, so the company can celebrate wins or acknowledge (together) when things are off track. This is performance management at its finest.

Managers play a key role in performance management for obvious reasons. Helping employees distill corporate objectives into directly attributable objectives is critical. Managers must also be ready and willing to confront and manage conflict, which is almost guaranteed to happen in some capacity if people are really acting as a team and holding each other accountable. Creating a trusting, safe environment that fosters constructive feedback and resolution will only enhance accountability.

As a CEO, putting significant thought into how your workforce will help you achieve your business objectives and broadly communicating it across your organization will provide a level of transparency necessary for your managers and employees to clearly understand who is accountable for what. Looping in compensation by tying bonuses and merit-based programs (individual and team-based) to your objectives will really drive home the importance of accountability. Otherwise, you may be rewarding those who fail to meet performance standards — only causing more misalignment.

2. Leadership development gap

Many of your next great leaders will come from within your organization. Effective leadership development is often a CEO’s most forgotten tool. Creating more structure around how you determine who is naturally poised for managerial or leadership positions in your company can have dramatic results.

For instance, the use of workforce assessment tools that predict behavior and cognitive ability are often used to identify high-potentials. Qualitative and quantitative results from any goals aligned with corporate objectives or cultural values can then also be used to create action plans that put your high potential employees on the leadership path. By developing current and future leaders, companies can promote and develop a culture that directly supports a purposeful, sustainable and socially conscious one that is committed to people. In turn, leaders can execute the overall business strategy and achieve desired results.

3. Employee engagement and culture

While customers are core to any company’s existence, CEOs should also focus on creating an employee-centric workplace culture. Companies that celebrate workforce diversity, encourage behavioral awareness and provide employee onboarding, training, development and socializing opportunities will undoubtedly have a more engaged and connected workforce than those that don’t.

As with most human capital management strategies, managers play a big part in employee engagement, especially when it comes to personal and professional development. Managers who take an active role in developing their team members through regular goal setting and development meetings will naturally have better success making their team perform. CEOs can lead by example by providing their teams with the same opportunities for mentorship and coaching.

Notice how I have yet to even talk about culture. The cross between the product or service you provide and all the focus areas I mentioned previously will give you all the building blocks you need to define your core values and set a culture in motion. Trying to define your culture before putting the aforementioned initiatives into action will likely lead to misalignment and a false sense of workplace culture.

About the author:

Drew is responsible for the development and implementation of The Predictive Index’s marketing strategy and leads all corporate branding, demand generation, and product marketing initiatives. Prior to joining The Predictive Index, Drew spent over a decade focused on marketing products, services, and software to businesses big and small. He was directly responsible for generating millions of dollars in revenue across the competitive intelligence, marketing services, media and advertising, and retail/ecommerce space. Drew has held senior marketing roles for world-class B2B brands like Compete, HubSpot, and Staples. Most recently, Drew was Vice President of Marketing and Digital at PennySaver USA Publishing where he led all branding and marketing efforts for the iconic California PennySaver and catered to thousands of business customers as the head of the company’s digital marketing services unit, PowerSites. Drew holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a BA in Music Business Management from Berklee College of Music.

Drinking or Conquering the Hard Stuff?

Are you finding decisions harder to make? Are you facing business growth opportunities amidst increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity? Do you feel your leadership being over taxed? Do you tell yourself “there must be a better way”?

Vistage CEO members face the hard stuff head on, with candor and courage, in a confidential space. Members always have a place for the difficult issues, when they have a seat at the table. There are only have a few seats open on our Charleston advisory board.

CEO advisory board members are life long learners, leading growing businesses. Members are business owners, CEOs, and top executives of businesses with revenues between $5M and $650M, and employees from 8 to 1,000. Members are accountable to each other to be better leaders and make better decisions.

You’ll be bringing a life-long learning attitude, coupled with vulnerability, rewarded with actions and solutions to your most difficult issues. You will be exposed to diverse perspectives, creative thought, and experiences. You will be exposed to your blind spots and opened up to possibilities you never imagined.

Vistage membership requires investment of resources, time and money. Therefore, the value received must be high and ongoing. Our local member reach:

The New Primal team

New Leaf Builders team

  • Founder/CEO: (Real estate development/construction) - Regional
  • CEO: (PEO/trucking industry) - National
  • Co-Founder: (Consumer food manufacturing/distribution) - Regional
  • Founder/CEO: (Social media) - National
  • Founder/CEO: (Consumer snack/sauce brand) - National
  • Founder/CEO: (Home building) - Local
  • Founder/CEO: (Food and Beverage) - Charleston, Aspen, Columbia
  • President: (Retail) - Local
  • President: (Marketing/PR) - Regional
  • Founder/CEO: (Healthcare IT consulting) - National
  • Founder/CEO: (Real estate property management) - Regional
  • President: (Industrial packaging) - National
  • CEO: (Non-profit/land conservation) - Local
  • CEO: (Non-profit/social emotional learning) - National

Flyway team

Vistage provides people, processes, resources and a global community of 22,000 members across 30 countries, for a better way to deal with the hard stuff. Get your seat while one is open. Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, July 12th with our speaker Ami Kasser presenting on Multi-Funding Strategies.

Program Description

Business strategy and financial strategy are intertwined. Often CEO's get stuck because they don't understand where their business is in a life cycle, what is inhibiting growth, and the best possible financing strategies at the right time. In this highly interactive workshop, members go through five modules. Additionally, members are encouraged to bring their income statements and balance sheets to the session, after a few warm up exercises, we dig into their specific challenges and begin issue processing with a trained financing professional in the room. Modules include:

  • The stages of a business life cycle -- and understanding where each member's business fits is
  • Financing solutions / options and alternatives at various life cycle stages -- including bank loans, SBA loans, ABL facilities, mezzanine debt, real estate and equipment financing
  • Understanding each CEO's tolerance for risk - and how this is impacting their financing / growth plans
  • Reviewing current debt in each member's business - and understanding if they are under leveraged and if so by how much
  • Each member presents a financial goal for their business in three years, and develops an understanding of what is stopping them from getting them there

Value to attendees

Each member will leave the workshop with an actionable financing plan with personalized take away's that will bring clarity to their growth plans. Every time we do a Vistage presentation at least 25% of the members walk away with an "ah-ha" moment of understanding how they can fundamentally grow or change their business.

Ami Kassar is the author of The Growth Dilemma and his TED talk can be seen here.

Exposing leadership blind spots through disruptive peers

Leadership blind spots are deadly.

Business graveyards are filled with examples of organizations destroyed by their leadership blind spots, like Blockbuster, Nokia, and Kodak, to name a few.

Leadership blind spots are the cognitive biases and self-deceptions that create prejudice in favor of, or against one thing. I believe the speed of innovation and the levels of disruption surrounding us, is a direct result of the minimization of blind spots through diversity. It is crazy for any leader to think they can compete in a global world being surrounded by people like themselves.

How many leadership blind spots are you creating or shedding light on? What types of people do you surround yourself with? How is your leadership thinking being challenged or is your thinking being accepted?

Leadership blind spots are deadly. Business graveyards are filled with examples of organizations destroyed by their blind spots, like Blockbuster, Nokia, and Kodak, to name a few. Leadership blind spots in leadership are the cognitive biases and self-deceptions that create prejudice in favor of, or against one thing. Blind Spots Matter in business. I believe the speed of innovation and the levels of disruption surrounding us, is a direct result of the minimization of blind spots through diversity. It is crazy for any leader to think they can compete in a global world being surrounded by people like themselves.

Why does any leader want to be surrounded by people like themselves in a professional environment? Who wants to look in the mirror and talk to themselves? Unfortunately, many people do. Thankfully, the leaders I work with don’t. They crave diversity of thought and perspectives. Harvard Business Review recently published research on correlations between CEO diversity and performance The Diverse CEO.

I Chair two Vistage peer advisory boards, one for CEOs, and the other for Trusted Advisors to CEOs. One of our core values is exposing blind spots. While there is some success in only accepting life-long learners, and in our process, the most effective means for exposing blind spots is diversity. My groups are not anywhere close to the level of diversity we strive to attain, yet diversity is always top of mind.

There is a trend among my community in Charleston for women only groups. Women only mastermind groups, women business leader groups, and women hatch tribes. Even the Charleston Harbor incubator’s newest cohort is woman only. What may be even more disturbing are business organizations that only hire women. Have we not learned anything from our past?

Yes, gender is only one factor of numerous ways to embrace diversity. Yet, I believe when we exclude even one factor, we fuel the cognitive biases already inherent, and set the stage for creating even larger blind spots. It is hard enough to compete without handicapping ourselves further. I challenge all leaders to seek out your disruptor peers.

Do You Lead a Not for Profit Organization?

Two years ago, I began forming peer groups for CEOs and Trusted Advisors in Charleston. Among the hundreds of leaders I talked with, several not for profit CEOs expressed interest in joining, yet $15k budget was too steep. Two years later, Not-for-Profit leaders have the opportunity to join a peer group specifically devoted to their stewardship and leadership. 

Introducing Super Group for Leaders of Not for Profits

  • Meetings:
    • nine times a year (January-May and August-November, 8:30a-12:30p)
    • one annual overnight retreat (in Charleston)
    • invitations to Vistage speakers visiting Charleston CEO group
    • meetings of Triads (groups of three members) for accountability and small-group issue processing
  • Members:
    • CEOs, Presidents, Executive Directors (and COOs with operating authority) of Charleston not-for-profit organizations — no competitors, no conflicts
  • Dues:
    • $4,493 annually (paid in advance)
    • or $2,281 semi-annually
    • or $386 monthly (12 months per year)

If this interests you, do either (or both) of these next steps.

Reach Out!

Contact the chair…

  • Kirk McMillan
    843.819.5959 or by email kirk.mcmillan@vistagechair.com

Attend upcoming information session:

Date: Wednesday, March 28th: 8:30a to 10:30a

Location: 151 Meeting Street, Suite 600 (Nelson Mullins)

I am glad for any questions and would be delighted to meet to discuss your ambitions and intentions.

Top Ten Books for Business Leaders

Top Ten Books for Business Leaders (in no particular order)

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins: Biology based books provide unique insights into living systems that open my thinking to business systems.The Selfish Gene made the list due to the focus on immortal genes and survival machines that offer strategic thinking at a new level. For example, the following excerpt, When we have a cold or a cough, we normally think of the symptoms as annoying byproducts of the virus’s activities. But in some cases it seems more probable that they are deliberately engineered by the virus to help it travel from one host to another…the virus makes us sneeze or cough explosively. Immortal Genes, survival machines

Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey: In one word, I believe leadership is about change. Immunity to Change provide great insights into the change process. A mindset or way of constructing reality will inevitably contain some blind spot. An adaptive challenge is a challenge because of our blind spot, and our adaptation will involve some recognition of, and correction of, our blindness. Overcoming self limiting beliefs

The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet: As leaders, we seek to lead mature human beings. The Mature Mind offers insights into how we think about mature minds for both ourself and others. No one is mature except to the extent that there is work he accepts as his own, that he performs with a fair degree of expertness, and from which he draws a sense of significance. 

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: What does it take to be fully engaged and in a creative space? Flow begins to offer the path. One of the simplest ways to use the mind is daydreaming: playing out some sequence of events as mental images. But even this apparently easy way to order thought is beyond the range of many people. Secret to happiness

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram: Boyd provides a new level of thinking around strategy based on the flow of energy. While he offers a strategic framework, it is not dogma, but an insightful basis for furthering our growth as leaders. In a dogfight it is not power or airspeed that enables a pilot to outmaneuver an enemy. It is energy. Energy! Adaptive leader

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: Just enjoy the story and let your imagination flow. Somethings you miss because they’re so tiny we overlook them. But some things you don’t see because they’re so huge.

A Failure of Nerve by Edwin Friedman: Leaders continuously deal with chaos and order, seeking disruption. In the final analysis, the relationship between risk and reality is about leadership. Differentiated leadership

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl: To have meaning in our lives, we must be connected to something larger. Man constantly makes his choice concerning the mass of present potentialities; which of these will be condemned to nonbeing and which will be actualized? Which choice will be made an actuality once and forever, an immortal “footprint in the sands of time”? At any moment, man must decide, for better or worse, what will be the monument of his existence. Leaders search for meaning

Science, Strategy and War by Frans Osinga: Learning is the process of creativity. Leadership defined as the art of inspiring people to cooperate and enthusiastically take action toward the achievement of uncommon goals.

Mindsight by Daniel Siegel: Mindsight can help us master our emotions, heal our relationships, and reach our fullest potential. Beginning with self awareness that brings choice and change into the equation. Awareness A system that moves toward complexity is the most stable and adaptive. Basis of behavior and the mind

Personal Growth for Leaders…embracing discomfort at higher levels

Ignite your personal growth
Ignite your Fire

The only way to grow is to change. Yet, change is uncomfortable. Many people fear it. As a leader, overcoming fears and creating processes to lead change may be the most critical aspects for organizational survival and success. The speed at which an organization changes can mean the difference between gaining a new customer and going out of business. I would argue that leaders are only able to lead change when they practice personal growth…embracing discomfort at higher levels. What are you doing to exercise your personal growth to be better equipped to lead organizational change? Professional coaching may be the place to start.

The objective for leadership in the change process is to create an imaginative culture where change is embraced through a steady flow of ideas. Emile Chartier reminds us that, “Nothing is more dangerous than one idea when it is the only one you have.” Groupthink is an example of the danger of one idea in which leadership fails to create an environment where ideas are expressed. The Bay of Pigs, Pearl Harbor, and the Challenger crash are good reminders of the failure of organizations to embrace alternative ideas. Leadership vulnerability sets the stage for creating a safe environment. The capability of leaders to express their own fallibility breaks down the barriers to open communication. Leaders must make it explicitly known to everyone in the organization that anyone can say anything, anytime. How do you practice vulnerability?

Only when leaders are leading with vulnerability, and open communication, is the organization ready to establish the processes that foster organizational change. Three processes for starting process are shared values, a simple and clear vision, and a focus on strengths. “Simple ideas are easier to understand. Ideas that are easier to understand are repeated. Ideas that are repeated change the world” Simon Sinek.

Shared values establish the boundaries for decision making throughout the organization, from the CEO to the shop floor. When faced with a challenging situation, how will employees decide to act? Will they act in alignment with values or freeze-up? Leaders can enhance shared values by making shared values part of the daily conversation. Start each meeting by sharing the story of how someone made a difficult decision last week. Circulate videos of values in action. Establish rewards for value-based behavior. Through story sharing, employees will be more empowered to act in alignment with values when faced with a challenging situation.

A simple, clear vision states why do we do what we do. Is the purpose simple and clear? Do people remember it? Does it inspire imagination and creativity? Take Zappos’ lead. Zappos simply states, “Deliver WOW through service”. Through simplicity, imaginations are inspired and energized. Beware: people and organizations will gravitate toward complexity, as Richard Branson reminds us. “Complexity is the enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.” Keep in mind the words of Albert Einstein. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Focus on strengths. Every person, as well as every organization has strengths and weaknesses. A strengths focused organization creates human capital that can’t be replicated by competitors. Acknowledge and be aware of weaknesses but focus on the strengths of people, processes, and products. A strength based focus leader will spend money on talent development. The weakness-based leader will focus on costing costs. When people are provided the resources to act in alignment with their strengths, organizational trust grows, and people are empowered to change.

Vulnerable leaders focused on simplicity will have the greatest opportunity to create organizations that embrace change. Organizations will adapt, grow and thrive amidst complexity built on simplicity of shared values, clear vision and a focus on strengths. Are you struggling with personal growth? Vulnerability? Simplicity in communicating shared values? Focusing on weaknesses? Consider professional coaching to stimulate personal growth and

Professional growth in 2018? Focus on purpose, passionate curiosity and…

Consider hiring an executive coach on your journey in 2018.

Executive coach harnesses imagination and passionate curiosty
Imagination and curiosity

If I walked into your office and asked “who can dance?” How many would raise their hands? 10%? If we wound back time to your four-year old kindergarten class, how many students would raise their hands when asked, “who can dance?” Almost 100%? The executive coach in me asks, “what has changed?”

How much of a four-year olds dialogue consists of questions? My four-year old daughter is 90%. How much of your dialogue consists of questions? 10-20%? What has changed?

Somewhere along the way the limitations imposed on us have overtaken our imaginations and curiosity. Kirk’s presentation at DISRUPT HR

Think about how much of your time is spent trying to be understood versus trying to understand. What great question did you ask today? How do you know you asked a great question? Were you inspired by a question today? How did it feel to be inspired?

Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” How often are your questions showing passionate curiosity? Stimulating growth? Probing understanding? Impacting change? Or Inspiring action?

Based on my experience coaching CEOs, business owners, and executives, many leaders do not ask questions that stimulate deep thinking. The reasons? Fear, anxiety, ego, uncertainty, uncomfortableness, lack of empathy, and ignorance, to name a few.

Many business executives play it safe…asking questions around stuff they already know or worse asking questions with embedded solutions, stunting creativity and team performance, limiting collaboration and sustainable improvement.

What if our leaders led by inspiring questions? Instead of vision statements we had vision questions? What would be your company’s purpose question? What would be your purpose question for your life? Steve Jobs proposed the following question: “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?”

Amidst global complexity, speed of change, over abundance of information, and ambiguity, how do organizations quiet the noise to improve their capacity to make decisions at every level? More importantly, how do you do it for yourself?

Consider hiring an executive coach in 2018. They will challenge you to harness the imagination and curiosity of a four year to improve your capacity for growth. Imagine a year where you have clarity around your purpose and begin living a life of passionate curiosity.

 

 

 

Professional Coaching Benefits and How to Choose Best Life Coach

Professional coaching is the collaborative and co-creative partnership along a client’s journey to reach their visions and goals.

Coaching is defined by Timothy Gallwey as “the art of creating an environment, through conversation and a way of being, that facilitates the process by which a person can move toward desired goals in a fulfilling manner.” Whether you are a CEO or Executive, you have two paths, professional and personal, and only one journey…life. Professional coaching elevates your living by processing and improving your professional and personal behaviors.

Professional coaching to overcome unbalanced forces

How many people have you known that seemed to have it all? the family, the house, the career, friends, money, and health. In the flash of an eye, they were struggling with a divorce, layoffs, or health related issues. The higher we move in business and in life the harder it is to maintain positive movement. As Newton’s First Law of Motion reminds us, “an object in a state of uniform motion, tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external unbalanced force is applied to it.”

Professional coaching creates a foundation for meaningful internal movement guarding against external forces.

Professional coaching to deal with hard realities

One of my past goals was to earn an offshore sailing certification. The certification was a week-long course that took place on a 50’ sailboat. During this process I learned that sailboats are perfect reality machines:

  1. It is important to know how things are made. Sailboats are powered by wind and they are built to be very sensitive and responsive to it.
  2. Be intentional. Everything on a sailboat has its place and must be able to be secured or it gets thrown about when underway, so there is careful consideration for the purpose of the stuff brought onto and kept on the boat.
  3. Harsh environments require constant awareness. Good owners are aware of the environments effects on performance, understand the areas with the most stress, and pay careful attention to the slightest changes by conducting thorough maintenance.

Getting from point A to point B in a sailboat, as well as life, is never a straight line. You have to find a way to fit together your desire with reality. For example, if you only focus on wind direction and set your course, the currents will push you off course. A the three-foot drop in tide may run you aground. A low front moves in bringing 10 foot swells, 30 mph gusts, fog, someone falls overboard, you lose steering, a leak in the boat, etc. Life coaching helps us understand and be aware of our reality and thrive amidst the hardest realities.

Professional coaching insights to improve our journey

Your ability to survive hard realities depends upon understanding how you are made (limits and capabilities), your attachments to the stuff (baggage), and understanding the effects of environment on our sensitivities. Life coaching raises the level of care and maintenance we give to our stress points, and the things we pay attention to that define our reality now. Life coaching allows us the freedom to focus on the journey, seeking harmony with reality and enjoying the ride.

Professional coaching questions to help you thrive amidst hard realities:

  1. How have events in your life made you who you are? How are you improving your self-awareness?
  2. How are you structured to be sensitive to the right things?
  3. What are your biases? Where are your blind spots?
  4. How is the environment in which you live? What baggage are you carrying?
  5. How much do you know and understand about your current reality now?

Professional coaching toward a life of integrity

Warren Buffet was quoted saying he looks for three things in people: integrity, intelligence and a high energy level. He said if you don’t have integrity, the other two will kill you. Warren Buffett understands the value of self-made or self-selected qualities like integrity. Integrity is the internal consistency to act within your values, allowing no gap between intention and behavior. Buffett has proven time-after-time the power of integrity, for instance his $5 billion dollar preferred stock purchase in Bank of America. Amazingly, the deal was struck within twenty-four hours. Subsequently, he purchased McLane Distribution from Wal-Mart on a handshake.

Professional coaching puts a mirror to proclaimed values and beliefs, shedding light on the hypocritical actions, and building integrity based behaviors.

How to choose a professional coach, Executive coach, or Life Coach?

The topic of professional coaching certification is a big issue, as anybody can say they are a professional coach. Does a professional coaching certification guarantee a good coach? No, it only shows that the coach has met the requirements of the certification. Tony Robbins may not have any certifications, while I have two coaching certifications as a certified life and executive coach. You want to find the life coach that connects with your gut, challenges your mind, and inspires movement. Consider coaching certifications last.

A successful professional coach is passionately curious about you. Impactful coaches seek to understand you by the questions they ask, more than the statements they make. Judge a coach by the questions they ask rather than by their answers.

Professional coaching at its best is the shift from reacting and surviving, to thriving on your own terms.

The best coaches accept you for who you are, where you are, and where you want to go, no matter what, without judgement. Impactful coaches create environments that allow you to speak honestly and openly 100% of the time, and accept feedback. Life coaching helps you explore possibilities to stimulate action for you to find solutions for yourself.

Key qualities of professional coaching experience:

  • Accountability: Your coach has a responsibility to hold you accountable for your growth, development and integrity in the things you say and do, or don’t do.
  • Confidence: Your coach’s confidence in you will be higher than your doubt.
  • Challenging: Your coach will challenge you to embrace discomfort at levels you never thought possible.
  • Passionately Curious: Your coach will inquire and listen at a level of passionate curiosity that you have never experienced before.

"The best professional coach connects with your gut, challenges your mind, and inspires movement." Kirk McMillan is a certified professional coach in Charleston, SC.

Know Thy self…Know Thy Enemy

Leadership skills
Self-awareness for leaders

Leadership skills for CEOs…Self-Awareness

Socrates and other philosophers have echoed the importance of “know thyself” for generations. Sun Tzu proclaimed that to “know yourself and know your enemy, in a hundred battles no defeat.” I view the enemy not only as the obvious enemy, but our personal weaknesses, our fears, lack of self-awareness, and blind spots. Leadership skills building is an ongoing requirement for CEOs and business leaders. Self-awareness is at the top of the leadership skills mountain to continue to refine and development. Check out Roy Baumeister’s discussion on Self Awareness.

If your competitors knew your weaknesses, fears, blind spots, how dangerous would that be to your survival? How would this impact your ability to compete? How does self-awareness improve your leadership effectiveness?

What are you doing as a leader to gain self-awareness, expose your blind spots, uncover your weaknesses and face your fears? What are you doing for your talent to minimize the weaknesses in the culture?

Do you have a peer board of advisors? Do seek out scientific assessments? Do you make strategic planning a dynamic process? Are all of your customers engaging your core competencies?

What are you doing for yourself personally? Do you have a confidential, unbiased environment to address your weaknesses, fears, and blind spots? The more time you spend on your personal awareness, the better leader you will become.

Leadership coaching and peer advisory boards are excellent tools for further developing self-awareness. The coach, through the coaching process, provides the pathway to face fears through inspirational inquiry. Peer advisory board provide a level of peer accountability that encourages and fosters self awareness. The peer environment removes blindspots by opening up varying perspectives and challenges our biases in our decision making. With the development of self-awareness we lay the foundation for refining our situational awareness. Until self-awareness is effective, our situational awareness will continue to be a liability personally and professionally.

Kirk McMillan is a CEO coach and Vistage CEO peer advisory board Chair in Charleston, SC.

Succession: Time to Sell the Family Business?

Selling business

When selling business owners have three options:

close the doors, sell to management or sell to the outside market. Selling business may be best family business succession strategy when considering the third option, selling to the family. Yet, statistics show that family businesses endure a high rate of generational failure. Maybe this high generational failure rate is due to the over-reliance of the family option. When should family owners consider selling the family business?

Reasons to consider selling the family business:

  1. Alignment with family strategy. Asset diversification may be a proactive tactic to achieve alignment with the family’s overall goals and interests.
  2. Next generation family members are not viable options for owning the business. The next generation may not be interested, qualified or capable. Proceeds from selling the family business could be diverted to acquiring other businesses in alignment with next generation strengths, talents and passions.
  3. Business conditions have changed that are impacting economic value. Business condition deterioration might include the loss of major customers, loss of key employees, large capital requirement or technology shifts that will impact the ability of the business to compete.
  4. Family conflicts have become destructive to the competitiveness of the business. Typically, this plays out in the inability of family leaders to make decisions because of communication breakdowns.
  5. Family passions have deteriorated to the point that the family leaders have lost passion for the business or resent the business. Leaders decide that the need for continuing family relationships have become more important than continuing the business.

The truth is that keeping your family business may not always be the right answer. There are certainly situations where selling the family business is the best answer; in some cases, it may be the only answer. Here are some important aspects to consider in the process Selling family business.

Kirk McMillan is a CEO coach and Vistage CEO board Chair in Charleston, SC. He was CEO of his family business for 13 years, growing the business to $75M from $1M, and witnessing the closure of the business. Contact Kirk and he will share his family business story kirk@kirkmcmillan.com.